Christians United for Israel: No Picnics in Gaza

Israel's leaders believe that the time has come to use every means at their disposal to stop Gazans from firing missiles at Israel.

Brog-224-88new (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
When Yitzhak Rabin shook Yassir Arafat's hand on the White House lawn in September, 1993, a brief but sunny period of optimism dawned in Israel. Israelis finally let themselves believe that peace was at hand. And Israelis finally let themselves dream dreams of peace.    Fathers dreamed that their children would never know the horror of military combat. Mothers dreamed that one day soon the military draft might be eliminated altogether. But most of all, Israelis dreamed very simple, very sweet dreams of coexistence with their neighbors. In the post-Oslo euphoria, many embattled, suffocated Israelis shouted out the greatest desires of their hearts. "When we have peace," a friend exclaimed, "we'll go down to Gaza to buy sandwiches and then picnic on the beach." "One day soon," another exclaimed" we'll be able to drive to Damascus for lunch." Reality can be heartbreaking. Israeli officials announced Sunday that Israel has begun reducing fuel shipments to Gaza and has closed down one of the two crossings through which food and other supplies pass into the Strip. These are the first steps towards implementing the Israeli Cabinet's September decision to restrict the flow of fuel, supplies and electricity to Gaza. The goal of these restrictions is very simple. Israel's leaders believe that the time has come to use every means at their disposal to stop Gazans from firing missiles at Israel. More than a thousand rockets and mortar shells have been launched from Gaza into Israel in the past four months. In the past week alone, several rockets landed in and around the Israeli border town of Sderot. Luckily, no one was killed. At least not last week.   While Gazans are sending their rockets into Israel, Israel has been sending food, electricity and fuel into Gaza. Israel actually supplies two thirds of Gaza¹s electricity needs. That's right -- Israel supplies Gaza with the very fuel and electricity that Islamic Jihad and others use to build, transport and fire rockets back into Israel.   Rest assured, the proposed supply cut-offs will be very "Israeli."  Israel will ensure that Palestinian hospitals and ambulances have all of the power and fuel they need. The electricity cut offs will be symbolic  -- fifteen minutes or so -- rather than actual. But it has been difficult for Israel to take even these limited steps given their impact on the broader population.   One wonders how Israel's enemies would handle the situation were the roles reversed -- if the Palestinians supplied Israel with its electricity and fuel. Does anyone doubt that Israel would have been plunged into total darkness long ago? But Israel is not going to lower herself to the level of her enemies. She never has.   Yet even if justified, such measures are not pleasant for a people as sensitive to human needs as the Israelis. Israel never wanted this. It was the dream of peace -- too strong, too powerful -- that led Israel to leave the Gaza Strip in the first place, hoping that the better angels of Palestinian nature would somehow arise and transform a population. But dreams of peace are no match for dreams of martyrdom.  And humanitarian gestures will never appease a people committed to your destruction.   No, there will be no picnics in Gaza. There will be no lunch in Damascus. Israeli children will continue to learn war. And as Israelis continue to confront endless conflict, we continue to hear that the only shred of good news they receive is the fact that -- finally -- they are not alone. Israelis are deeply heartened to know that they have so many Christian friends in America and around the globe who are standing by them during these difficult days of conflict.      So Israelis will continue their long wait to realize their dream of easy coexistence with their Arab neighbors. But they take great comfort from the fact that the dream of a reconciliation with a large segment of the Christian community is being realized in city after city across this great nation.  We are offering Israelis the desire of their hearts, an escape from their long and lonely isolation. Our warm embrace is every bit as important as the educational and policy work we do in America. Let's keep up this good work.    For more of Brog's Blog, please visit Previous entries: Constant Vigilance The fate of the Sunday People